Whenever we hear the word lion, we generally are filled with a feeling of awe for the beautiful animal. However, soon this feeling is overpowered by fear as lions are probably the best killing machines ever designed by the god. Lions belong to the family of cats, also known as big cats, which means they are magnified version of a cat. But unlike cats they are not shy rather big, majestic, beautiful, swift and built to kill.
They know no fear when it comes to killing. The average age of a lion is 20 years. The male lion usually lives by himself and is popularly known as the jungle king. However, occasionally more than one male lion can be seen hunting and roaming together. The male lion can easily be identified from a female one as he sports a beard. Yes, a mane, that is what it’s called. The lioness on the other hand likes to live with a family known as a pride. A pride consists of several lioness along with their cubs who hunt, eat and live together till the time the male cubs come of age.When it comes to mating, there’s a fierce competition between the males for fathering the offspring of the female partner. The females spray a special kind of pheromone and leave a trail behind her. The lioness do not conceive in one or two rounds of thumping but the mating may take even several days full of brief periods of thumping.
The lions belong to the carnivore species. Deer, goat, buffalo and other small animals are their staple. But the pinnacle of their predatory can be understood from the fact that they can even make an elephant, weighing nearly seven tonnes, their food. Big mammals like giraffe and hippos have also been their hunts in the vast jungles of Africa.Though, the size of the lions is not as big as their brethren Tigers belonging from the same class of big cats. Upto 1972 lion was the national animal of India but afterwards the title was bestowed upon tiger as lions are considered to be less disciplined than the tigers. Scientists have found success in breeding a new breed named as ‘Liger’. A liger is a mixed breed animal having a lion as father and tiger as mother.Lions have long been considered sacred in India.
As we all know that in India almost every animal is sacred and worshiped. It is said that goddess Durga (Energy) rides the lion when she’s out to kill the evil. Idols of lion can be found in almost every temple in north India. History shows us that lions were domesticated by big kings and emperors and they served dual purpose. One of them being prestige. You see, having a predator as big a size of lion in one’s compound was no mean feat. They were also used for gladiator games where a person was thrown into a lion’s arena who had not eaten for days. The colosseum of Rome is an example of the gladiator games.
The great emperor of India king Ashoka had figures of lion engraved on his pillars. All these things demonstrate that how much the animal is venerated in India.Unfortunately, the biggest enemy of lion is the human. Humans don’t eat lion meat but it is very shameful that we kill this beautiful animal for it’s skin, claws etc. We are reducing it’s habitat day by day by continuously entering the jungles. It should not come as a surprise when there are occasional killings of humans by the wildlings. As man-animal conflict has risen because of the continuous increasing invasion of the jungles by the humans.
We need to save this majestic animal along with it’s natural habitat if we want to maintain the ecological balance of mother earth. Do not forget that lion is on the apex of the food chain. Also, if this conflict continues, the time is not far away when books will be the only place where a lion could be seen.